Not that you were aware, but Barbie celebrated her 49th birthday last week (thanks, Lydia). My first encounter with Barbie was not a pleasant one since it dealt with a mischievous boy on our bus. You see, Barbie isn’t bad in and of herself. She could be just about anything, and that allowed little girls to imagine what could be. However, she was also caught up in a society that was marketing women as objects rather than people.
For a society that prides itself in the rights that it gives women, we seem to also seem to enslave them the most. We simply replace one form of enslavement for another and then expect them to be happy.
You see, ever since there was a camera, there has been photo manipulation. Long before there were computers and digital cameras, people were taking displaying pictures that were altered. However, the damage that has been done to our women today in the name of beauty and under the guise of fashion is the worst yet.
No one should take their life over how they look. And yet that is the very thing that we have happening in America today. Women compare themselves, their features, their waistline not just to models that are paid to purge, drink protein shakes and call it a meal, and who get to work out multiple hours a day– but to people that do not exist.
We’ve shown before that those “girls” that you see on commercials are changed entirely from what they look like via hair extensions, makeup, lighting and Photoshop. We’ve covered that even the models realize that what will be displayed will not be what they really look like. And yet after all of this I feel that many women share this perspective:
There’s nothing quite like a glance at a Victoria’s Secret catalog to invoke a flood of insecurities and feelings of disappointment. I know I’m supposed to be admiring the undergarments on those pages, and I can appreciate a well-made brassiere. But frankly, it isn’t a well-made product that draws my attention. It’s Victoria’s models. Immediately a body-comparison game ensues. Am I supposed to look like that? Those legs? That tummy? That skin? eyes? lips? My hair won’t do that. And I know that bra wouldn’t look that way on me.
It seems I’m not alone in my twisted worldview. A recent survey found that 70 percent of women felt depressed, guilty, and shameful after looking at a fashion magazine for only three minutes. . . . Few of us are unaffected by the desire for a “body by Victoria.”1
The truth is that you’re not supposed to look at the undergarments. You’re supposed to be blown away by the models. I swear that the VS site and magazine is more for men then women, as there are more men that are inside that store, more men desiring that their woman wear clothing and compare to that girl they saw in the magazine, etc.
So, you see, it doesn’t matter if the tricks are exposed or the secrets are revealed– women still believe that they must measure up against some standard based solely on what three numbers apply to them, what their dress size is and whether or not they look fat in this pair of pants. And all because of marketing to both men and women of private womanly things using thinner than average models and tools to erase blemishes.
It’s truly a much crueler form of slavery than they endured before!
Instead, we need to tell women where they get their real worth from, and what makes a real woman beautiful. We need to help them look on the inside instead of the outside. And we need to continue to shatter the myth that women should have to look like a super model in order to have the appreciation of their husbands.
This means that those of us that our guys need to stress to the women in our lives that we do not need them to look like a supermodel for us to be happy with them. We need to reinforce their attractiveness to us regardless of what someone else is wearing. We especially need to guard our eyes so that we can enjoy the wife of our youth.
As it turns out, we may hold the key to helping women learn these truths about themselves.
- Wanting To Be Her, InterVarsity, 2005, pp. 12-14 [↩]
4 thoughts on “What the Media Wants You To Think”
Forced to by a man I had no choice in to marry a man I also had no choice in, and to have both those men rule over me my entire life. Were they may beat me, sexually abuse me, and physiologically torment me until sweet death finally takes me. You wish to call that a lesser enslavement than having a couple idiots try to make me feel bad about myself with some pictures? Min I have to disagree with you, peer pressure just doesn’t compare to the torments women used to be forced into. At least today, women get to choose if they wish to go through these problems or not.
Of course, you take your extremes and I’ll take mine. I find it extremely sad when women commit suicide because they don’t feel they that they are attractive. I find it appalling that women will binge and then purge in order to strive to be something they were never intended. I am aghast that my daughter will grow up in a land where women are supposed to be like strip shows for free– and will be judged by that.
And then, if a woman chooses to do something that is not expected, if they choose to be a good girl, if they choose to submit to their husbands or to raise their children they’re belittled, judged, and looked down on.
Women have choices, sure, but much less freedom. They have new slave masters to replace the old ones.
I though of something I forgot to mention in my first post. The pain for beauty is not caused by today’s modern society. Remember corsets to keep ones shape (which would break women’s bones and rearrange their internal organs), remember the putting of lead on ones face to make it paler, remember eating a gallon of lard to help keep one fat, and the thousand of other things that women would do to themselves throughout history. In fact it was even more necessary to do these things back then. You needed to be beautiful in order to attract a man who could take care of you (because you were given no choice to support yourself). You needed to keep yourself beautiful so your husband wouldn’t run off with a prettier thing and leave you starving, penniless, and with children to feed.
Now onto your most recent post. Your extremes already existed in the past and are not caused by a woman’s ability to choose her life. Another point, how can you fault society for a crime the church is guilty of itself (You notice the speck in your brother’s eye, but you don’t see the log in your own eye. When you take the log out of your own eye you will be able to see to remove the speck from your brother’s eye-Luke 6:41)? The church and many of its members choose to belittle me because I do not choose to settle down with a man and marry. Not because of any sin I’m committing, but because I choose to take the path preferred by Paul (Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am-1 Corinthians 7:8).
Also Min, choice is freedom. God gave us the ultimate freedom by allowing us to make choices. If he wanted he could have made good little slaves (a creature with no freedom) that did not have any free will of their own and would obey his every word, but instead he gave us the ability to choose our paths and thus we are free.
Good call, Loc. I had forgotten about the corsets. Now, I could go back further and say that at one point in time it was considered beautiful that women be large, but I think that we’ve hit on the important point– all throughout history women have been slaves to how they look. The current mode of feminism does nothing to break this slavery, but it does make it more perverse and prevalent. And then mocks you if you choose not to subscribe.
Blaming “the church” for something is hard to do since “the church” is defined by many local instances. I know of no church members in my church that are asking a now single woman in our church when she will get married, etc. And it’s definitely not a teaching of Christ or the Bible, so these people (no matter how well meaning they think they are) are wrong. I have no problem with that.
God gave freedom by allowing us to make choices, but He also set boundaries. True freedom comes with limits. In fact, the Christian life is compared to bond slavery all throughout the New Testament. Jesus modeled it in the Upper Room. Paul claimed that he was a Bond Slave all the time. And though we are free, we are not free to sin (Romans 6:1ff).
There are boundaries in true freedom. There is a “better way” a “best way” and that sometimes means not going the easy way. That sometimes means that you don’t sleep with everyone before you are married because love in a committed relationship is stronger and more pleasing than the empty ones.